New research from Oxford indicates that thinking kind thoughts about yourself and others can be beneficial to your immune system and overall physiological state.
Participants in the study were given an audio tape that either encouraged them to think positively about themselves and others or instructed them to be self-critical and negative. After the tape, participants filled out a series of questions about whether they felt safe, how connected they felt to others and how likely they were to show kindness to others. Their heart rate and perspiration responses were measured too.
Maybe not surprising, but those who listened to the encouraging tape exhibited responses more associated with feeling safe and relaxed. Their heart rates dropped, too, which researchers said reflected an adaptable physiological state that could point to a strong, flexible immune system.
“These findings suggest that being kind to oneself switches off the threat response and puts the body in a state of safety and relaxation that is important for regeneration and healing,” says Dr. Hans Kirschner of the University of Exeter, first author of the study.
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Adversely, those who listened to the negative tape exhibited signs of distress and danger. Their heart rates increased and their sweat responses reflected higher stress levels.
So hey, watch a YouTube video that makes you smile, pat yourself on the back and have a great day. Listen to music that cheers you up. Resolve to text a few people you haven’t talked to in a while and just tell them you’re thinking of them and hope they have a great day. We hope you have a great day. You’re awesome.